10 July 2018

Indigenous people and legal problem resolution

The paper uses data from the Legal Australia Wide (LAW) Survey to compare the experiences of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in relation to the resolution of legal problems. Indigenous respondents were significantly more likely to have unresolved crime problems, with those classified as multiple disadvantaged having the highest probability of unresolved crime problems. Finer-grained analysis revealed that Indigenous respondents' higher rates of unresolved crime problems concerned being charged, arrested or questioned by police; while multiple disadvantaged Indigenous respondents also had significantly higher rates of unresolved crime problems concerning domestic violence allegations. The research found that Indigenous Australians, particularly those who suffer multiple disadvantages, experience barriers to legal problem resolution. The paper discusses the implications of these findings and argues there is a clear need for accessible and responsive public legal assistance services that are appropriate to the legal needs and capability of Indigenous people, particularly those experiencing multiple disadvantages.